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History of 3D MEB


1917 through 1920s

In December 1917 the 3rd Provisional Brigade was activated in Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia and was subsequently deployed to Cuba to protect U.S. sugar producing interests, which were becoming victim to sabotage by Cuban rebels. Upon arrival in Cuba with the 9th Marine Regiment, the Brigade took control of the 7th Marine Regiment and began to protect U.S. owned property, freeing up the Cuban Army to chase the rebels. In early 1918 rebel activity had subsided and the Brigade was relocated in August 1918 to Galveston, Texas to serve as a ready force should a contingency arise in the Caribbean. The following April the Brigade was deactivated.
In March 1927, the 3rd Marine Brigade was again activated at MCB Quantico. The Brigade subsequently deployed to Shanghai, China under Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler during the Chinese revolution. Once they arrived in China, the brigade took control of the 4th Marine Regiment and the 6th Marine Regiment upon their arrival in May. During this period, the Brigade was responsible for protecting American citizens and keeping the Chinese out of the international settlement, which was becoming a target of Chinese anti-foreign sentiment. In 1928, Chiang Kai-shek became the nominal leader of China and the Brigade was subsequently withdrawn and deactivated in January 1929.

In March 1942, the Brigade was reactivated at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina and deployed to Western Samoa, to garrison and defend the island during WWII. The Brigade was again deactivated in November 1943.
Post-war Southern California and the newly established Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton saw massive numbers of Marines and units returning from the war in the Pacific. In September 1946 as replacement draftees were being sent overseas to allow the combat veterans performing occupation duties to return home, the 3rd Marine Brigade was again established with the 6th Marine Regiment as its nucleus. The Brigade consisted primarily of administrative groups and some infantry units as they returned to the states to be deactivated. On July  16,1947 the 1st Marine Division reclaimed the rest of the personnel returning from overseas as well as those in the Brigade, which again was deactivated.
1960's through 1970's

In May 1962, the 3D Marine Expeditionary Brigade was formed from 3rd Marine Division personnel and began landing 3000 Marines as a show of force in Udorn, Thailand during Operation Millpond to limit Communist influence in pro-West Thailand. Shortly after 3D MEB  responded to the Pathet Lao Army in Laos during the Laotian Crisis, from May-August 1962. The Brigade was part of a force sent to limit Communist influence in Laos. The MEB forces included the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, HMR-261 and VMA-332. The show of force was over by August and the MEB was reabsorbed into the 3rd Marine Division.
In April 1965 as the forces began to build up in the Republic of Vietnam, the 3D MEB was reactivated at Camp Hague, Okinawa, boarded transport ships of the 7th Fleet and sailed for the Republic of Vietnam. Enroute to the Republic of Vietnam, the MEB was redesignated the 3rd Marine Amphibious Brigade. They arrived off the coast later that month, conducted a landing in Chu Lai and established an expeditionary airfield. At the end of the month the MAB was deactivated and absorbed into the III Marine Amphibious Force (III MAF).
In April 1971, III MAF withdrew from the Republic of Vietnam and the 3rd MAB was reactivated at Da Nang to oversee the 13,600 Marines of the 1st Marine Regiment, MAG-11 and MAG-16, which remained in country while the Combined Action Program was phased out. On 7 May, ground and air operations ceased, the last ground troops sailed in June, and the 3rd MAB was subsequently deactivated.

2000 – present

In January 2000 III MEF Forward stood down and the 3D Marine Expeditionary Brigade was reactivated in the midst of supporting an international force in East Timor to provide logistical support for the Australian-led peacekeeping mission during Operation Stabilize.   

In November 2007 Cyclone Sidr struck Dhaka, Bangladesh killing close to 3,000 people and displacing nearly one million from their homes. 3D MEB deployed to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in support of Operation Sea Angel II where they delivered over 25,000 gallons of water the first day and over 352,000 lbs. of food, tents, and clothing throughout the operation.

In 2009 and 2010 3D MEB deployed to the Philippines to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. On Oct. 18, 2010 Typhoon Juan (known as Megi locally) struck the Philippines during a bilateral exercise leaving 26 dead and 39 injured. 3D MEB was already on scene and was able to team up with the Armed Forces of the Philippines to provide over 170,000 lbs. of relief supplies to those in need.

When  the March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami devastated the coastal areas of northeastern Japan, 3D MEB deployed to mainland Japan as a part of  Operation Tomodachi as the III MEF forward. 3D MEB deployed KC-130J aircraft and helicopters from Okinawa to Sendai to assist with relief operations and distribution of emergency food, water and shelter.

In December 2012, 3D MEB was designated as the command element for the Asia-Pacific region’s alert contingency Marine Air-Ground Task Force (ACM).

Most recently, 3D MEB deployed to the Republic of the Philippines to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) in November 2013 during Operation Damayan.  More than 14 million people were affected by the super typhoon and 3D MEB was able to respond to the request of the Government of the Philippines within hours under the direction of USAID and the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. More than 2,000 tons of relief supplies were delivered using the Marine Corps’ MV-22 Osprey aircraft, and more than 20,000 victims were evacuated from affected areas around Tacloban. 

Most recently in April and May 2015, 3D MEB deployed to Nepal for Operation Sahayogi Haat to aid victims of the magnitude 8.1 earthquake, which killed 9,000 people, injured 22,000, toppled buildings throughout the capital Kathmandu, and created numerous landslides and avalanches. The MEB deployed C-130s, MV-22 Ospreys and UH-1Y Venoms to deliver 115 tons of relief supplies and evacuate 75 people from isolated areas.

 3D MEB is always prepared to respond within 24 hours to crises throughout the region. In the event of a contingency, 3D MEB will mitigate foreign or domestic crises, protect U.S. citizens and territories, or counter threats to U.S. national interests as needed.3D MEB remains the resilient, ready and relevant crisis response force in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region and is  actively engaged in ongoing regional contingency planning as well as participating in numerous joint and combined exercises to increase regional security and stability.



The 10th Artillery Regiment, 3rd Marine Brigade,                 Philippine and US Marines train together

passes in review as part of operations in China in 1928           during PHIBLEX in 2013.

Marines with 7th Marine Regiment, 3rd Provisional Brigade, march through eastern Cuba in 1917.

“Air America” helicopters with 3D Marine Expeditionary Brigade land at an airfield in Thailand while conducting OPERATION MILLPOND in 1962.

Philippine and US Marines train together during PHIBLEX in 2013.

Republic of Korea Marines and US Marines with the 3D Marine Expeditionary Brigade participate in Exercise Ssang Yong 2014.

A Sailor with 3D Marine Expeditionary Brigade assist a wounded Nepalese child in 2015 while supporting OPERATION SAHAYOGI HAAT.

An AAV with 3D Marine Expeditionary Brigade reaches the Korean shoreline during Exercise Ssang Yong 2016.

Marines with the 3D Marine Expeditionary Brigade fire an M777 Howitzer during Exercise Kamandag 3 in the Philippines in 2019.



3D Marine Expeditionary Brigade